Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quilt Market Report 4: Demos, Tips, and Booths

Our first full day at Market we went to 15 short demos of new products we thought would be interesting; the next 3 mornings we went to 90 minute classes on various techniques, some of which were useful, some not. After class, we'd "hit the floor", perusing the booths, talking to owners, authors, designers, watching demos, getting ideas. This post will be a hodge podge of a few of those come wander with me!

Mary Jo could I have never heard of her before? She is a spectacular designer, with a spiritual heart of gold. Here she is demonstrating how she transfers just the minimum necessary marks for a silk ribbon motif. She pins the paper with the design directly over the fabric and lifts and marks, lifts and marks with a few short dash lines, not the whole motif. Made sense to me.

This is NOT my class sample, but a fellow student's who did a way better job than me. These are Mary Jo's hand dyed silk ribbons, which she had for sale in her booth, along with the most innovatively constructed and beautiful purse patterns I ever saw.

Here is Mary Jo and renowned ribbon embroidery teacher Helen Gibb, who shared her booth. I wish I had photographed Mary Jo's individual purses so you could see, but I encourage you to check out her patterns on the products page of her site, linked above, where she also has some truly lovely cards, and silk collections too.

Moving right along, I stopped at the Tsukineko booth where a terrific demo was going on.

Susan Holton has stitched the outline of this flower motif in black thread on cotton fabric, rather like creating the outline in a coloring book drawing. To thicken the ink, which is a liquid--and this was the hot tip--she mixes it with a little aloe vera gel. This prevents the ink from running outside the line while painting with it, but doesn't dilute the color. The aloe vera washes out, is non-toxic, readily available at your drugstore...what a fantastic idea!

Next up, Misty Fuse.

Here is a great trick they told would have saved me hours of grief in the past had I known it...and some of you no doubt do....
I love to applique cut out letters onto fabric. The easiest way to do this is to put a layer of Misty Fuse (or presumably, any fusible web) over the letters you wish to cut out (I print them on the computer on plain paper). Trace the letters in pencil onto the Misty Fuse, not backwards, just over the printing so they read just as they were printed. Then fuse your traced fusible web onto the BACK of the fabric you wish to cut out and voila, the pencil marks are there for you to cut out around. Then your fabric letters are ready to fuse into place, and away you can go machine appliqueing them down. No muss, no fuss. The ladies here are beaming at me because I was so happy to learn this trick.

All right, I confess to some espionage here. I photographed this rick rack flower that was for sale in a booth--can't remember which one--because it is such an easy, neat idea. This was large rick rack but you could use any size...the zigs are just sewn together one by one, joined tightly into circle, and the zags make the petals. Plop a bead in the center and what a great 3D flower for your crazy quilt!

While we are on the subject of flowers, this one is from the River Silks booth. You can find a pattern and kit for it here. (Just scroll down the page until you see it.) The folks at River Silks were just fantastic. Their ribbon will not snag or run...they worked long and hard to get that figured out.

This beautiful burned ribbon rose was created by my roommate and fellow staffer at CQMagOnline, Barbara Blankenship. (CQMagOnline has just published a new issue, so do click that link and check it out!)

And here is Barbara's beautiful pansy.

And here is Barbara, very proud of the patterns of these flowers that are now being carried by Hanah Silks. Barbara demo-ed in their booth and her patterns have already been very well received. Congratualtions, Barbara!

I will feature other products on future blog posts as I use them...for my final post on Market tomorrow, I will feature some of the quilts I saw on exhibit, and some final thoughts on my experience. Hope you enjoyed this little window into my Market!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Quilt Market Report 3: Dolls

Let's start with these three:
Rian Ammerman, Debra Spincic and yours truly, blogging pals extraordinaire, finally got to meet up in person for the first time ever on Sunday evening. We squealed like schoolgirls when we first saw each other and immediately fell into a big group hug! Our time together was too short....

But this post is really about the amazing dolls on display as part of the Houston Festival. I wasn't allowed to photograph the Hoffman Doll Challenge but I did pay my respects to Stephanie's beautiful entry.
I will admit something here: while there were some terrific quilts in competition and on exhibit, I didn't see anything new that knocked my socks off the way these dolls did. I am sorry I didn't write down the titles and artists...usually that is a blog no-no...but I wanted to bring you some of my favorites, so here they are.

I went mad for this amazing piece...

She's got a ship on her head! And those fish tails.....wondrous.

Be sure to click on the pictures so you can see the this cute or what?

I love her....

Sorry this is out of focus, but she's worth at least trying to see...

Just plain strange. I love how liberated the dollmakers were to plumb the depths of their matter where it took them.

These are not just dolls, they are stories....

This pose is especially innovative, I think...don't you?

What is she stirring up in that pot? Where were the dollmakers' minds while they were creating these incredible sculptures? In a land of fantasy, for sure...

What a vibrant community the dollmakers are! I am just so impressed.....
Tomorrow's post will be about I have to unpack!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Quilt Market Report 2: Elly Sienkiewicz and Gerald Roy

These people are two of the greats in the quilting world, in my opinion, so I was eager to hear their presentations on their new fabric lines. Both have deep connections to the historical quilting tradition, which is something that, as a crazy quilter, I respond to deeply.
Elly, as all quilters know, is responsible for the revival of the Baltimore Album quilts...she has taught them, created fabrics for them, and even created an Applique Academy for passing on the fine handwork skills necessary for them to continue to be made. She is a most gracious lady. Her presentation was about her new fabric line, "Remember Me", especially designednfor use in Balimore Album quilts today.
Gerald Roy began collecting antique quilts in the 1960s with his partner, Paul Pilgrim. Since that time he has been a teacher, author, antique textile appraiser, and fabric designer. He is now currently designing fabrics for Windham. While he has long been involved in producing reproduction fabrics, his new line is bold, contemporary, and graphic.
Both of them talked about the design process behind their fabrics....and I knew I was in the presence of greatness!

Elly is holding up one of her quilts, ruefully laughing at how the border design used in it was not a good seller (I love it though). What works and what doesn't?....

She has decided to redraw many of the patterns from her previous books to smaller block they are sewn up at 8" square.

The commitment of time and attention to detail is what makes me love these a crazy quilter who will easily put 6 to 12 months into a quilt, I can and do relate.

The opening in this block design is meant to be filled with an appliqued sillhouette, portraits of loved ones, traditionally. But I can't help but think about how photo transfers could somehow be integrated into this concept...not in a traditionally reproduced Baltimore Album quilt, but in a quilt based on its sensibilities and traditions.
Which leads to a lovely discussion I had with Elly today in her booth at Robert Kaufman fabrics. "What makes a classic?" was her question. "What makes some some art last across the decades and centuries?" Her answer was that classics must have an element of transcendence, something of goodness, truth, and beauty in them to last.
How I loved hearing that!
But then she gave another quotation: "For art to have meaning for the future, it must include the coin of its own times". Hence, the photo transfer in that silhouette block!

Gerald Roy is an old school designer, formally trained in art. He reminded me so much of some of my professors at Cornell in the 1970's, just so aesthetically aware.
He produced his new line to fulfill his own needs in a way: fabric that he could use in his own work just simply wasn't out there. The people at Windham gave him carte blanche to design this line, called "Graphic Rhythms".

These designs were a product of Mr. Roy listening to music. In response to the rhythms of what he was hearing, he filled notebooks with line drawings. Then he would abstract sections from them, create repeating images from the sections, refine those, etc.
He follows the old school of painting in that he never uses black...he mixes colors using complimentaries in order to keep them very clear, rich, and bright. He used that principle in coloring these designs. He also had this to say...."In working with color, if you have likes and dislikes you work at a disadvantage. Not ever using certain colors is like playing a sonata with part of the keyboard missing." That is good for us to remember, isn't it?

I had to ask him....."What music were you listening to when you made these designs?" Lots of kinds, he said, but above all, the Bach Fugues.
I KNEW he was going to say Bach!!!!

One tip for you all....the Regency Dandy line he created last year, that uses vintage designs in hot, contemporary colors exemplifies the things that Elly and I were talking about about regarding what makes a classic, how to make that contemporary...I asked if there was any of the fabric line left on the planet and he said no...but then two shop owners in the audience piped up, "We bought the whole line and we still have some." Here's the

Lots more coming....!

Quilt Market Report 1

Dateline: Holiday Inn Express, George Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas
5 a.m., October 28

It's a good thing sleep works such magic, because after two days "on the floor" at the Houston Quilt Market, going to presentations of new books, products, and fabric lines and talking to vendors selling the same...I was an utterly whipped puppy dog last night when I thought I'd be blogging.
I will say this: my first impression of the people who serve the quilt industry is very positive. Most of these myriad businesses are run by women who have started them up from dreams and passions and who have made them go with incredibly hard work and often the help of their children, who join the businesses with them. The vibe is good between the vendors, there is a spirit of co-operation where they want to help each other out. But all is very professional.

We had a day of short presentations of products and techniques on Friday, called "Schoolhouse"...15 of them. There are 1 1/2 hour classes in the mornings Sat, Sun, and Monday on subjects we are interested--silk ribbon flowers from Hanah Silks for me yesterday, building a portable workstation this morning, more silk ribbon embroidery tomorrow.
Friday night was the "Sample Spree"...a huge room where vendors have goods on the tables for buyers to buy for their personal (or sometimes their shop) use, at wholesale prices. That was a feeding frenzy extraordinaire. I dropped some serious coin on silk ribbon from RiverSilks and sane fabrics from Japan, Australia, and the good ol USA.
Yesterday after class I worked up and down the aisles of the show, meeting people, hearing about products, oohhing and ahhing. More of that today, plus I will take in the quilt exhibits that are already hung for Quilt Festival later in the week. With no crowds, what a perk.

Blogger is not loading pics this a.m. beyond the three or four below, so you will have to wait a bit for those....
This has been an overload experience and I am only halfway done!

Barbara Blankenship, Julie Yonge, and me in the Press Room at the beginning of day one. Fresh as daisies and ready to rumble...

Ursula of Designs to Share With You shows us how to get these fabantastic shaped border/edges. Her pattern on the linked page, "Elegant Table Dressings" will show you how to do this. It is easy.

Rami Kim's new book Folded Fabric Elegance, is just published by the American Quilters Society. This is not so easy. But the effects are amazing.

This coat was a stunner. Rami's new book has lots of ways to get 3D effects from the Korean tradition into your needlework projects; I thought some of her techniques could be applicable to crazy quilting. Her explanations in the book looked very clear and precise; aferall, she was a PhD candidate in genetic research before her life switched gears and she got sprung from the lab.

Here is where Blogger quit loading sorry...more to come though.

It's been great so far!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Decorated Neck Pouch

As my last little project before leaving for Quilt Market, I decided to jazz up a little neck pouch for holding my name tag, business cards, hotel key, and admittance paperwork. Just for fun, of course!

Here's the "before" picture of the back....

And here is "after"...

The front, "before".....

And the front, "after".

The laptop bag came together fine, so now all I have to do is pack my clothes, stock my fridge for the guys left at home, and try to contain my excitement!
I aim to blog "live" from the WiFi lounge at the convention center in Houston...if not then, certainly from the hotel. I should have a report for Y'all late Friday.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Laptop Block Finished!

Talk about speed embellishing. I really didn't have much time to put into this block, as I have to get the bag constructed a.s.a.p. There's a lot to do before I take off for Houston early Thursday morning.
So I had to use simple, big stitches on most of the bag. I went for herringbone and a related zigzag on a couple of the trims on most of the outer seams, saving my detail for the bag's center. I would rather take my time on a block this large, but it was a good exercise in pedal to the metal stitching.

This block is about 15 1/2" X 17".

I love these Turkish "oya" needlelace flowers!

I outline stitched the brocade flowers in silver to give them a little more punch, and to tie them in with the silver flower sequens.

I must admit, I really like how my printed flowers look juxtaposed with the brocade ones. And do please notice the little "hat" just coming off the California poppy on the right. That took a lot of tries to get with the camera!
OK, now for some speed bag assembly.....

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Laptop Bag, Day 3

I've been merrily getting myself in and out of jams with the embellishing of this block. That's what happens when you decide as you go along what you are going to do!
The great Carole Samples draws out her blocks and stitching meticulously before she threads a single needle...actually, the word meticulous doesn't begin to cover it when it comes to Carole's work. But I just can't see how that would be possible, at least for me.

I am very much aware of trying to define my design with each element that gets added with the embellishments here. But meanwhile this is just a heck of a lot of fun.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Laptop Bag, Day 2

I got "Summer Mandala" back from PIQF yesterday, and I have to say that I thought the judges totally nailed the "weak link" in my quilt: "Design lacks definition"...
There is a tug of war in crazy quilting between the spontaneous, decide-as-you-go approach, and the totally-planned-out-before-you-start way to go. I have never been a planner.
But I knew that quilt had focus problems after I had finally figured out what I wanted to do with it (which when I was already well into the process of embellishing it) but didn't care enough to go back and start over.
I think the design of a crazy quilt truly is grounded in its piecing.And with traditional crazies, like the "H" quilt, that is easy. But when you try and push into the more contemporary CQ zone, it leads to challenges, at least for me. How do I get a really refined composition as I am winging it?
I don't know if I will ever be a real sketcher/planner, but I have a lot of good stuff to mull over these days.

The laptop bag block is a nice place for me to think on these issues. I am ignoring the piecing lines almost entirely in my embellishment, wanting to see how much I can force the design of the overall block to my vision, which as usual is overwhelming flower-ness!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Laptop Bag

That fuzzy totebag I made in August was supposed to be for carrying my laptop around at Quilt Market in Houston next week. The only trouble is, I put a big purse magnet in it, and computers don't like the company of all. Plus, the bag ended up being too large for that purpose.

So I am using some of my newly printed fabrics in a second go at a laptop bag. I cannot seem to get away from flowers and these colors...they will look familiar to you!

These prints came out pretty darn good!

I know, shades of "Summer Mandala"....haven't gotten that whole approach out of my system as yet, this we know. Auditioning fabrics here. I am going to crazy quilt a large block for one side of the laptop bag.
We crazy quilters have to represent ourselves well at Quilt Market, don't we?

Getting started with the piecing here...

...continuing on....(I so love piecing!).....

Here's the block finished. I wanted to make sure and work some black into this block to go with the black I'll be wearing. I think its addition sharpens the other colors right up, too.

And we are off to the races!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rainbow Weather

Learning the settings, ins and outs of a new printer means I don't have much to show so far! I can say already though, and without equivocation, that the silk/cotton blend I mentioned from Blueprintsonfabric is far and away the best fabric I have ever used to print on.

The kind of sky cover we get in October usually allows for the sunset to peep through under the edges of cloud at the end of the day, and we get some dramatic lighting on the hills across the valley as a result. And usually a rainbow or two....but never one like last night.

It made a perfect half-circle over the valley.

Here it is over our house, Chad running out to see...October has to be the prettiest month!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

"H"'s Frame, Completed

At this late date it seemed a bit risky to add a strong new design element to this quilt, but I thought, "What the heck?" H would always tell me, "Go for it, Girly! What are you afraid of?"
So I took that row of blue detached chain stitches that surrounded the outside of the frame for it.

I did some needleweaving through the chainstitches using tatting thread, hand-dyed 4 mm silk ribbon, hand-dyed silk floss, and some nasty orange rayon multi-plyed thread. Nasty because rayon like this is tough to work with normally, but using it as a weft in needle-weaving was fine.

The addition of that line of scalloped beads was the risk. I was worried they would be too dominant. But this quilt has so much busyness going on that it just swallowed this chunky frame of beads with a small lady-like burp.

Here's an overall shot so you can see what I mean. It's not overpowering at all, just defines and accentuates the center a bit more.

I'm at a good stopping point on the H quilt for a little while, though. The reason is this:

An Epson R1800 13" widebed printer. My son's friend's dad is lending it to me, as he has upgraded to a higher end printer for his fine art photography.

Would you look at those extra colors and even an additional black?

I've been busy bugging the experts on Yahoo's inkjetfabricprinting list (such wonderful, helpful people)....and learned that even though you don't need Bubblejetset to make the pigment based inks that Epson uses permanent, it can help create a slightly crisper image. We are all about getting that crisp image.
The fabrics are flat silk crepe and a cotton sateen from Dharma, and an interesting cotton/silk blend from Blueprints on Fabric. So it's back to fabric printing funnies for me! I'll keep you posted as to how it goes....